Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Taking a Break

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Weather: Glorious!

For the first time since arriving, we woke to a partly cloudy sky of blue. We passed through the Reservoir Rybinsk and passed the Rybinsk Port during breakfast. There was a lovely church near the riverbank (now on the Volga) with European domes and a large golden spire. It will be another quiet morning.

We will spend the afternoon in Yaroslavl, founded in the 11th century - more churches and monasteries. It has been explained that the reason for so many monasteries and nunneries is that when a member of nobility fell out of favor, these places served as their residences of exile or banishment, rather than landing in prison. In an effort toward self-preservation, they would build their own and sponsor its survival as a form of insurance policy, should the political environment at court turn against them.

The Church of Elijah the Prophet, a five-domed cathedral filled with frescoes, similar to the Church of Spilled Blood mosaics in St. Petersburg. We heard a brief impromptu concert by a local male quartet (tapes and CDs for sale on the table in front of them). Their blend was beautiful and the acoustics marvelous.

From there we hit a lacquer box exhibition and sale, quite overpriced. John snapped a picture of me in front of the local theatre. Our guide said that Yaroslavl was the origin of theatre in Russia.

We had an interesting walk through a grocery store. Each category of products were housed in kiosks around the perimeter of the store with fresh produce in circular counters in the middle.

After our guide wrangled a couple of dollars out of us to see another monastery, John and I decided to skip that and walk back to the boat along the riverfront park.

A little Russian graffiti just to perk up your day.

We came upon an empty church with a sign indicating a date of 1644. This was supposed to be a photo, but I forgot to reset the camera when I handed it to John.

Most entertaining were the numbers of cars decorated with interlocking gold rings and artificial flowers affixed to the roofs. They reminded me of funeral sprays, but John identified them as a new add-on piece for his wedding business in SC. "It's the new thing I saw in Europe last month!"

Also interesting was the people-watching on the walk back. Lots of teenagers carrying and drinking bottles of beer in small groups of three or four.

The day ended with dinner and a lovely talent show given by the crew. Acts ranged from line dancing to a "tribute" to the fountains of Peterhof, to a couple of singers (one of whom sported some lovely gold caps on her teeth).

By the way, dear diary, I placed second in the music quiz, winning a free back massage! I hope they will allow me to upgrade to a full massage. Will the masseur's name be Olga or Ivan, I wonder?

More to come...

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